The U.S. Supreme Court last week refused to hear the appeal of an Arkansas school district over students’ black-armband protests against a school uniform policy.
The Watson Chapel school district was seeking high-court review of an appeals court ruling that said the students’ protest was protected under the 1969 landmark student-speech case Tinker v. Des Moines Independent Community School District.
The district implemented the uniform policy in 2006 for grades 7-12. That fall, several students were disciplined for wearing black armbands—the same method used by the students in Tinker to protest the Vietnam War—to express their opposition to the school dress code. There was no suggestion that the armband protest disrupted school.
Both a federal district court and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 8th Circuit, in St. Louis, ruled for the students.
The justices declined without comment to hear the district’s appeal in Watson Chapel School District v. Lowry (Case No. 08-716).
A version of this article appeared in the March 11, 2009 edition of Education Week